Kodály Institute

California State University, Bakersfield


June 22 - July 10, 2020


René Ferrell, Ph.D

René Ferrell is Emerita Associate Professor and former Director of Music Education at CSUB. Her studies include: Ph.D. from the University of North Texas, Kodály Certificate from Silver Lake College (WI), Orff Certificate from the University of Memphis (TN), and choral studies at Westminster Choir College (NJ).

René is past officer for the Kern County Music Educators’ Association and two-time recipient of the KCMEA University Educator of the Year Award. Her long career includes teaching prize winning middle and high school choirs in Texas, adjudicating numerous choral competitions in several states, holding long-time membership in the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and conducting honor choirs that include Bakersfield’s Grand Night and the Kern Country Junior High Honor Choir. She has presented conference sessions, workshops, and Kodály certification courses across the country, conducted university women’s choruses in Lincoln (NE) and Bakersfield, and published numerous papers and articles in state and national peer reviewed and professional journals. Her professional service includes: President for the Nebraska Kodály Association and Nebraska Orff Association, Women’s Chorus Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Nebraska Choral Directors Association, and she has held several positions on the Organization of American Kodály Educators Board of Directors.

As guest of the Hungarian Kodály Association, she was principal speaker for the International Kodály Society conference in Budapest and has presented papers at IKS Symposia in Leicester (ENG) and Cincinnati (OH). Dr. Ferrell founded the Nebraska Kodály Certification Program and now works with Dr. Angel Vazquez-Ramos as they create the new CSUB Kodály Institute.


Matt Hanne

Matt Hanne is Director of Fine Arts at The Independent School in Wichita, KS, where he teaches 6th-12th grade choir, Music Theory, and AP Psychology, and he also teaches applied voice at Newman University. Matt has served on the faculty of Kodály certification programs at Wichita State University (Conducting and Pedagogy/Folksong Research), University of Central Missouri (Solfège), University of California-Bakersfield (Solfège) and Morehead State University (Solfège). Matt has presented at the National (NAFME, OAKE), Regional (MKMEA), State (KMEA, ACDA) and local (USD 259, Chesterfield, MO) levels on various topics relating to choral rehearsal techniques and improvisation. In July 2015, 2017, and 2018 Matt studied in Kecskemét, Hungary, at the International Kodály Seminar and summer school. Matt is the director of music at Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, the director of the Wichita Broadway Singers, has directed honor choirs across the state of Kansas, and has served as music director for shows with Music Theatre for Young People in Wichita. He has served as the tenor section leader for the Wichita Symphony Chorus, and is often a member of the Wichita Chamber Chorale.


Jo Kirk

Jo Kirk, founder, President and CEO of We Joy Sing, is a nationally known educator and expert in Kodály pedagogy, Kodály-based early childhood music education and methodology. She holds a Masters in Music Education from the University of Akron and a Kodály Music Education Certificate from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She has completed early childhood studies at the Hartt School of Music and the Westminster Choir College.

Her teaching experience spans from “little ones” to Kodály graduate level adults at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Colorado State University, Wichita State University, Morehead State University and California State University Long Beach. As an adjunct faculty member of Muskingum College, Jo instructed the elementary music education courses, directed the Muskingum College Children’s Choir, and developed and instructed the Kodály-based early childhood music and movement enrichment program. Kirk served on the Community Music School faculty at Capital University, provided the early music education training for the Columbus Montessori Teacher Education Program, and is founder, President and CEO of WeJoySing, Inc. studio’s “Language of Love” prenatal program, “Heart Strings” (a parent and early childhood music and movement based education program), “Music & Me” (a music literacy program based on the Kodály methodology for school age children), and individualized Music Therapy programs.

She maintains an active nation-wide conference and public speaking schedule and her publications include: “A Kodaly Approach,” “Spotlight on Early Childhood Music Education: Selected Articles from State MEA Journals” published by the National Association for Music Education, 2000, and has authored Lullabies to Circle Games: An Early Childhood Music and Movement Curriculum.


Ryan Ramming

A former CSU Bakersfield student, Ryan Ramming began learning piano at age 5 under his father, and then later with Robert Clatterbuck at age 12. At the university he studied with Dr. Soo-Yeon Park, where he also spent several years serving as accompanist for Dr. René Ferrell's Women's Choir. Currently, he plays piano and organ at three churches in Bakersfield, California: Emmanuel Lutheran, St. Elizabeth-Ann Seton, and St. Philip the Apostle. Ryan also accompanies the CSU Bakersfield University Singers and Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Angel Vázquez-Ramos. In addition to his work as a musician, Ryan is an AmSAT-certified instructor of the Alexander Technique, and he maintains a private teaching studio in Bakersfield, CA.


Lisa Simmelink

Lisa Simmelink is currently a Pre-K through 5th grade Music Educator in McPherson, KS. She is also Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in McPherson, directing five vocal and handbell choirs. Lisa has had experience teaching students of all levels; from 3yr old Music & Movement classes, to college music methods and Kodaly Pedagogy. Lisa earned her undergraduate degree in K-12 Choral Music Education and Vocal Performance from Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS and her Master’s degree in Music Education from Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. She holds a Kodaly Certificate from Colorado State University.

Lisa is co-founder and past-president of Kodaly Music Educators of Kansas. She is currently serving as the President of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators of America. Lisa has been the Level II Pedagogy and Folk Song Research instructor in the Wichita State University Kodaly Program since it began and has also taught in the University of Central Missouri and Morehead State University Kodaly programs. She is an active presenter at local, state and regional levels.


Georgia A. Newlin, DMA

Georgia A Newlin, DMA is an independent Music Education Consultant. She has taught in early childhood and public school music positions for sixteen years and at the collegiate level for fifteen. Currently, Georgia is called upon as a conductor for choral festivals, as a clinician for choral workshops, reading sessions, and intermediate grade methodology, as well as a consultant for curriculum planning. She teaches musicianship, conducting, and ensemble in Kodály programs at Indiana University, University of Hawai’i, and James Madison University.

Georgia is Past President of the Organization of American Kodály Educators and is a member of The VoiceCare Network. She has presented at conferences of the Organization of American Kodály Society, International Kodály Society, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Kodály Music Educators in Australia, Kodály Society of Ontario, and Association for Music in International Schools, as well as Choral & Music Education associations in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.

She has had articles published in the Choral Journal, Orff Echo, Kodály Envoy, and Southwestern Musician, among others. She served for three years on the Music Educators Journal Advisory Committee of the National Association for Music Education.


Angel Vázquez-Ramos, Ph.D

Angel M. Vázquez-Ramos, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico is Director of Choral & Vocal Studies and Associate Professor of Music at California State University, Bakersfield. He teaches undergraduate courses in music education, secondary choral methods, and choral conducting. In addition, Dr. Vázquez-Ramos conducts the University Singers, Treble Singers, and Chamber Singers while maintaining an active schedule as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician throughout the state and western region.

Before completing his doctoral studies at Florida State University, Vázquez-Ramos taught secondary choral music at Pinellas County Schools in the Tampa Bay Area. Previous music director positions have included congregations in both Florida and California. Serving as the Ethnic & Multicultural Perspectives chair on the California Choral Directors Association Board, Dr. Vázquez-Ramos also keeps current memberships in the following professional organizations: American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE).

He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at the University of Puerto Rico. Studying with Judy Bowers, Rodney Eichenberger, Kevin Fenton and André Thomas, he graduated with Master of Music Education and Ph.D. in Music Education degrees from Florida State University. Research interests include: teacher preparation, rehearsal techniques, adolescent choirs, and ethnic choral music. Dr. Vázquez-Ramos has presented nationally and published articles on assessment in music education and teacher preparation in the Journal of Research in Music Education, the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing and the Florida Music Director.